David and Cheryl Duffield
Amount donated: In excess of $310m
Philanthropic Causes: Animal rights and welfare
Region of philanthropic focus: The US
Ranking: No. 245 in Business Week’s Annual Ranking of ‘The 50 Most Generous Philanthropists’ in 2008 and no. 25 in Barron’s ‘The 25 Best Givers’ in 2009
Net Worth: An estimated $5.9bn (David Duffield) according to Forbes
Source of wealth: Software
David Duffield is a self-made man in the world of technology. Unlike so many guys in the tech scene who made their millions when young, Duffield founded PeopleSoft, the source of most of his wealth, at the age of 47. He sold it to Oracle for $10.7bn in 2005 and set up Workday about three months later (at age 65) when retirement was starting to get to him. Apparently the rocking chair at his Lake Tahoe vacation home got boring fast.
Duffield didn’t found Workday to get a salary; he paid himself around $34,000 per year for his position as co-CEO back in 2012 (he stepped down from this position in 2014). Rather he wanted to make software solutions for businesses that were easy to use. Or more easy to use than the ones Oracle were making. Oracle, co-incidentally, did a hostile takeover of PeopleSoft and Duffield has been very keen to point out that Workday was not a “revenge” on Larry Ellison of Oracle, though he saw the takeover as a catalyst to start Workday.
Duffield holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and an MBA from Cornell University. In his early career he worked at International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) as Marketing Representative and Systems Engineer, then co-founded Information Associates, where he worked till 1972, consulting colleges on software solutions. After this he founded Integral Systems Inc, which commercialized a software package for payroll and human-resources management.
When Duffield created PeopleSoft he promised that if it would make him rich, he would give back to Maddie, his beloved miniature schnauzer, and her kind. During a particularly good day during the set-up of the company he was playing with Maddie and said to her: “If we ever make some money, I promise we will give it back to you and your kind so others can be as happy as we are today.” Maddie helped him and his wife Cheryl, acting as a “lighthouse during the stormy period” of the couple’s careers.
Duffield and Cheryl have 7 adopted children together and Duffield also has three children from a previous marriage. Together Cheryl and Duffield set up Maddie’s Fund in 1994 and pledged $300m to it, making them the most generous donors to animal rights known today.
The mission of Maddie’s Fund is to “revolutionize the status and well-being of companion animals.” The foundation finds homes for dogs and cats and fights euthanasia at shelters. It has given millions to animal-welfare groups, veterinary establishments and universities, establishing shelter medicine programs. They aim to “create a no-kill nation where every dog and cat is guaranteed a healthy home or habitat.”
Duffield has honored his roots at Cornell University as well, donating the funds for the Duffield Hall – a nanoscale science and engineering facility. Maddie’s Foundation also
launched a program at Cornell that trains veterinary students in medical practices for animal shelters.
In addition to this Duffield paid out $10m to help people who were laid off in the Oracle take-over of PeopleSoft. Duffield has been known to stand out by being a kind boss in the world of software, where many bosses drive their developers using fear and greed as motivators.
Scaruffi; an appendix to A History of Silicon Valley:
PR Newswire; Warren Buffett Tops BusinessWeek’s Annual Ranking of ‘The 50 Most Generous Philanthropists’:
Barron; The 25 Best Givers:
Wikipedia; David Duffield:
Lake Tahoe News; PeopleSoft founder Duffield not content to be retired in Tahoe:
Financial Times; Software’s Gunfighter Is Out for Revenge: